These are all pretty small qualms, though, and ones I’m sure will be smoothed out in the coming months or years. In reality, the depth of features made available by both office suites is nothing short of incredible. Take a spin on Zoho’s PowerPoint counterpart, Show, and it doesn’t take a crystal ball to see that these online apps are the future.
Still, I’m not sold, and it’s my own frame of mind that’s to blame. For me to completely abandon Microsoft Office would require a major shift in the way I think about personal computing—one I’m not sure I’m capable of making. For me, the PC and the Internet are still two very distinct entities. I don’t think kids growing up today can even conceive of a computer that doesn’t go online. For them, there’s little difference between typing a paper in Microsoft Word and typing search terms into Google. It’s all the same playing field. I’m the opposite, and maybe that’s because I remember the day my family got its first 14.4-baud modem. Even though opening Firefox, IE or Safari is now as seamless a process as opening up Word or Excel, I still think of “going online” as something completely separate to what’s happening on my PC locally.
I like having the computing power on my actual computer. With Microsoft Word, Adobe Photoshop and whatever else I have installed, I feel like I can get things done whether I have an Internet connection or not. I also like my documents in a folder that I always have immediate access to. I really can’t imagine a future in which I’m required to go online to run a program or retrieve a document. And, what about outages? This past summer, Gmail suffered a major system-wide collapse, which left me without email or access to my contacts for hours. The same thing happened just yesterday to my Hotmail account—and yes, I really do still have a Hotmail account. If the same thing happened to Zoho and I suddenly couldn’t get a hold of an important story or presentation, I’d flip out. And there’s that whole issue of privacy. I’m sorry, but I’m not sure I want the Excel sheet I keep all of my finances on sitting out on some server somewhere, or being sent across the Internet into a Web browser.
Five amazing, clean technologies that will set us free, in this month's energy-focused issue. Also: how to build a better bomb detector, the robotic toys that are raising your children, a human catapult, the world's smallest arcade, and much more.